Eugene Drucker, Director and Violin ♫
Eugene Drucker, founding member of the Emerson String Quartet, returns for his third season as Music Director of the Bach at New Year’s concerts for The Berkshire Bach Society. He has appeared as a solo violinist with the orchestras of Montreal, Brussels, Antwerp, Liege, Hartford, Richmond, Omaha, Jerusalem, and the Rhineland-Palatinate, as well as with the American Symphony Orchestra and Aspen Chamber Symphony. A graduate of Columbia University and the Juilliard School, he served for two years as concertmaster of the Juilliard Orchestra, which featured him several times as a soloist. He made his New York debut as a Concert Artists Guild winner in the fall of 1976, after having won prizes at the Montreal Competition and the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. He has recorded the complete unaccompanied works of Bach (Parnassus Records), the complete sonatas and duos of Bartók (Biddulph Recordings), and (with the Emerson Quartet) works ranging from Bach and Haydn to contemporary repertoire, mostly for Deutsche Grammophon. A nine-time Grammy and three-time Gramophone Magazine Award winner, he is visiting professor of chamber music at Stony Brook University. In 2008 his original setting of four Shakespeare sonnets was premiered by baritone Andrew Nolen and the Escher String Quartet at Stony Brook. The songs have since appeared as part of the two-CD release Stony Brook Soundings by Bridge Recordings. Additional compositions include Madness and the Death of Ophelia, based on four scenes from Hamlet, and a setting of five poems by Denise Levertov, both for female speaker/singer and string quartet; and Series of Twelve, a string quartet commissioned by the New Music for Strings Festival, which premiered in Copenhagen and Reykjavik in August 2018. His novel, The Savior, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2007 and appeared in a German translation called Wintersonate, published in 2010 by Osburg Verlag in Berlin.
Alison Chapman-Hale, Flute ♫
Alison Chapman-Hale made her New York debut at Carnegie Recital Hall in 1982 as winner of the Artists International competition and has performed at Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall, CAMI Hall, many of the major churches in New York City, and concert halls throughout the US, Europe, and South America. Solo performances include appearances with the Berkshire Bach Ensemble, New England Piano Quintet, Portland (ME) String Quartet, Portland Symphony Orchestra, and at the National Flute Association convention. In 2012 she was inducted into the Fryeburg (ME) Academy Hall of Excellence. She has been a member of the Portland Symphony Orchestra since 1985, Opera Maine, and Portland Ballet Orchestras, in addition to the Berkshire Bach Ensemble. Other honors include the Kandell Fellowship for participation in the Tanglewood Institute, where she was awarded the C.D. Jackson Master prize. Currently on the faculties of Mt. Holyoke and Bennington, she has taught previously at Amherst, Bowdoin, and Bates Colleges. She holds Master and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from Manhattan School of Music, as well as an undergraduate degree from Mt. Holyoke College, where she received the prestigious Mary Lyon award for outstanding alumnae.
Roberta Cooper, Cello ♫
Cellist Roberta Cooper is a winner of the Artists International Competition and a founding member of the Walsh-Drucker-Cooper Trio that has performed extensively in major series in New York City, Washington, DC, New Orleans, and Europe. She is the assistant principal cellist of the American Symphony Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, and the Westchester Philharmonic. She has performed with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the New York City Opera, and the ballet orchestras of both the New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, and has toured as guest cellist with the Emerson Quartet in the United States and abroad. She received her undergraduate and graduate music degrees from the Juilliard School, where she studied with Lorne Munroe and Harvey Shapiro. She has been a member of the Berkshire Bach Society for more than 25 years.
Allan Dean, Corno da Caccia ♫
Allan Dean is Professor of Trumpet Emeritus at the Yale School of Music and a member of St. Louis Brass. He is an instructor in the Community Music Program at Simon’s Rock and has been a member of the Berkshire Bach Society Ensemble since the early 1990s. He performed with the New York Brass Quintet for eighteen years and the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble for ten years while active on the New York concert scene and in the recording studio. In 1982 he joined the faculty at Indiana University and later joined the faculty at the Yale School of Music. As a founding member of Calliope: A Renaissance Band and the New York Cornet and Sacbut Ensemble, he is dedicated to performing Baroque and Renaissance music on original instruments. He performs and teaches each summer at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival in Norfolk, CT, and can be heard playing both modern trumpet and early brass on over eighty recordings for major record labels.
Ronald Feldman, Cello ♫
American cellist Ronald Feldman has achieved critical acclaim both as a conductor and a performer. He is a two-time winner of the American Symphony League’s ASCAP Award and has appeared as a guest conductor with such orchestras as the London Symphony and the Saint Louis Symphony. He joined the Boston Symphony at the age of 19 and has appeared as a soloist performing repertoire from Dvorak to Ligeti. Chamber music affiliations have included performances with the Boston Symphony Chamber Players and Collage New Music Ensemble, and his collaborators include pianists Emmanuel Ax and Garrick Ohlsson, violinist Gil Shaham, and cellist Yo Ma. He is currently a member of the Williams Chamber Players and the Berkshire Chamber Players, Artist in Residence and Lecturer in Music at Williams College, and Director of both the Longwood and Berkshire Symphony Orchestras.
Ronald Gorevic, Viola ♫
Ronald Gorevic was born in London and has had an active career as a performer and teacher on both the viola and the violin. He is a founding member of the ensemble Prometheus, with which he has recorded the piano quartets of Saint-Saens and D’Indy for the Centaur label. Also for Centaur, he recorded the Brahms clarinet quintet and trio in the composer’s own arrangement for viola instead of clarinet. In addition to his work for Centaur, he has recorded for Koch International and Crystal records. He recently formed the Revere Piano Quartet with other faculty members from the New England Conservatory of Music. Later this season he will perform the complete Beethoven violin sonatas at Simon’s Rock and the complete Bach cello suites, transcribed for viola, at Smith College and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He is currently on the faculties of Smith College, the New England Conservatory Preparatory School, and Simon’s Rock.
Laura Lutzke, Violin ♫
Laura Lutzke earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from TheJuilliard School and a Master of Music with Distinction from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. She is an avid chamber musician, and was named one of the “Rising Stars” at the Caramoor International Music Festival, collaborating with artists such as Atar Arad, Pamela Frank, and Arnold Steinhardt. She has taught and performed at the Bowdoin International Music Festival alongside musicians such as Frank Huang, Mikhail Kopelman, Kurt Muroki, and Paul Neubauer. Since 2006 she has participated in festivals throughout the US, Europe, the UK, and Asia, including Open Chamber Music at Prussia Cove in Cornwall, England. She collaborates regularly with diverse artists and ensembles such as Alarm Will Sound, Björk, Le Cercle de l’Harmonie, Gabriel Kahane, Johann Johannsson, The Knights, Max Richter, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Paul McCartney, The National, Stars of the Lid, Roomful of Teeth, Wordless Music Orchestra, and Yann Tiersen. She is currently a member of the critically-acclaimed American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) and Co-Leader of Le Cercle de L’Harmonie classical orchestra in France.
Alistair MacRae, Cello ♫
Alistair MacRae has appeared as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral principal throughout North America, Europe, Asia, South America, and the Middle East. His playing has been praised for its “rich sound and lyrical phrasing” (Palm Beach Daily News) and his performances have been featured in radio broadcasts across the United States on WQXR, WWFM, WDAV, WCQS, KING FM, and Vermont Public Radio. He is Cordelia Wikarski-Miedel Artist in Residence at the University of Puget Sound, and the cellist of the Puget Sound Piano Trio, and principal cello of both the Princeton Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Tacoma. He also performs with his wife, soprano Alison Pohl, in the voice and cello duo Soprello and is a member of the Artist Faculty at the Brevard Music Center. His past projects include chamber music and recitals in venues such as Carnegie Hall’s Zankel and Weill Halls, Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, and Palm Beach’s Kravis Center for the Performing Arts; recordings of chamber music by Kodaly and Telemann; premiere performances of 21st-century pieces at Princeton, Yale, Columbia, and Harvard Universities; and ensemble albums of music by Mozart and Scott Joplin.
Sycil Mathai, Trumpet ♫
Sycil Mathai enjoys a global music career that encompasses all genres. The New York Times called him a “terrific trumpeter.” From classical to experimental, his work includes performances with ensembles from The Knights, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Argento New Music, David Sanford and the Pittsburgh Collective, American Composers Orchestra, artist Carter Burwell, the dance companies of Merce Cunningham and Mark Morris, and movie directors Andy Kaufman and the Coen Brothers. He has recorded for RCA, PBS, CBS, EA Sports, Warner Classics, and Sirius Satellite Radio and has shared the stage with artists ranging from Yo-Yo Ma to Stevie Wonder. He is a graduate of the Juilliard School (as a student of Mark Gould) and Texas Christian University (as a student of Steve Weger). During 2019 he recorded with Gil Shaham, performed at the Ravinia and Tanglewood music festivals, and joined the Meridian Arts Ensemble. He is currently on the faculty at the State University of New York at Fredonia. This is his second appearance with the Berkshire Bach Society.
Irena McGuffee, Viola ♫
Irena McGuffee is a long-time Berkshire Bach Ensemble member who has received numerous awards and distinctions throughout her career, including the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) chamber music award for the state of Florida and the Boca Pops Scholarship Competition. She has performed under many prominent conductors, including Leonard Slatkin, Pierre Boulez, Gunther Schuller, Charles Dutoit, and Kurt Masur. She received her undergraduate degree summa cum laude from the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton (FL), and her graduate degree from the Manhattan School of Music. She performs chamber music regularly with the New England Symphonic Ensemble, Distinguished Concerts International New York, the Mark Morris Music Ensemble, and the Berkshire Bach Ensemble. In addition, she has performed on Broadway in the musical Matilda.
Judith Mendenhall, Flute ♫
Judith Mendenhall has appeared throughout the US, Europe, and Asia as a recital, chamber, and orchestral musician. She is principal flutist of the American Ballet Theatre Orchestra, and performs regularly with the Cleveland, Mendelssohn, and Emerson String Quartets and Musicians from Marlboro. Her solo recitals include appearances at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the 92nd Street Y, and the National Chiang Kai-Shek Cultural Center in Taipei. She has been principal flutist with the New York Chamber Symphony, the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Grand Teton Festival, and the Colorado Music Festival, and was a founding member of the Music Today Ensemble and Aulos Wind Quintet. She received the 2016 Distinguished Teaching Award from The New School, where as a faculty member of the Mannes School of Music, she chairs the wind department. She is also on the faculty of Queens College of the City University of New York. In addition, she performs in summer festivals including the Interlochen Flute Institute and the Aria International Summer Academy, and the biennial recital-master class tours of Taiwan.
Neil Mueller, Corno da Caccia ♫
Neil Mueller enjoys a career performing and teaching music. He is Associate Professor of Trumpet at Central Michigan University, Principal Trumpet of the Lansing Symphony Orchestra and Cleveland’s BlueWater Chamber Orchestra, and third trumpet in the Grand Rapids Symphony. He has toured the US and Italy with the Brass Ring quintet and recorded new works by Pulitzer Prize-winning composers Jacob Druckman, David del Tredici, and Joseph Schwanter. In addition, he has performed concerti with the Boston Pops, the Eastern Connecticut Symphony, Fargo-Moorhead Symphony, as well as the Berkshire Bach Ensemble. He has recorded extensively as both a soloist and chamber musician and has a published several popular pedagogical works for the trumpet. He recently released the CD Call and Response, featuring new works for trumpet and piano and trumpet duo with fellow Berkshire Bach Ensemble member Allan Dean and pianist Zhihua Tang.
Margaret Owens, Oboe ♫
Margaret Owens is in demand for her performances on historical oboes and has appeared with many of North America’s baroque orchestras, including American Bach Soloists, Apollo’s Fire, Folger Consort, Handel and Haydn Society, National Cathedral Baroque Orchestra, Tafelmusik, Washington Bach Consort, and others. She is a member of the chamber group REBEL and a founding member of Kleine Kammermusik, whose debut album Fanfare and Filigree: Chamber Music from Paris to Dresden (2017) received critical acclaim. She participates in many summer music festivals, including the Charlotte Bach Festival, the Staunton Music Festival, and the Amherst Early Music Festival, and holds degrees in oboe performance from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, the Manhattan School of Music, and the City University of New York. She is on the faculty of the Jacob School of Music at Indiana University, the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, and the Amherst Early Music Festival. In her teaching she focuses on broadening the study of historical oboes, from technique to 18th-century performance practice. An eastern North Carolina native, she lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a music historian, and her son, a computer enthusiast.
Joel Pitchon ♫
Joel Pitchon is a soloist, concertmaster, chamber music player, and Professor of Music at Smith College in Northampton (MA). A frequent Berkshire Bach performer, he earned degrees from The Juilliard School of Music, where he studied violin with Oscar Shumsky and Joseph Fuchs. He has served as concertmaster for numerous orchestras, including the Orquestra Ciutat de Barcelona (Spain), the New York Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, and the EOS Chamber Orchestra. The New York Times noted his playing in the EOS production of Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat as “superb.” For Gasparo Records he recorded a CD of four sonatas for violin and piano by Clifton J. Noble, Jr., with the composer as pianist, and New England Legacy, works by Quincy Porter, Walter Piston, and Amy Beach with pianist Jonathan Bass. For ARTCD he performed with the Walden Chamber Players on Sun Threads, a premiere recording of the chamber music of Augusta Read Thomas. He is currently co-director of the Sage Chamber Music Society at Smith College and a member of the Elm Chamber Ensemble.
Gerard Reuter, Oboe ♫
Gerard Reuter is a dedicated chamber musician and a past recipient of the prestigious Pro Musicis International Award. He studied oboe at the Juilliard School from the age of nine and later attended the Royal College of Music in London. He has appeared as a soloist with Jupiter Symphony, Philharmonia Virtuosi, Riverside Symphony and Orchestra of the Bronx, the National Chamber Orchestra, the Soviet Emigré Orchestra, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, among others. A founding member of both the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and An die Musik, he is a long-time member of the Dorian Wind Quintet and has performed with many ensembles in the United States and abroad, occasionally as a guest conductor. He has recorded for Sony, New World, Telarc, Columbia, BMG-Catalyst, Dorian, Summit, and Musical Heritage Society.
Michael Roth, Violin ♫
Michael Roth, a native of Scarsdale, NY, received his early musical training with Frances Magnes at the Hoff-Barthelson Music School. He is a graduate of both Oberlin College and Conservatory and the University of Massachusetts, where he was the recipient of the Julian Olevsky Award. He is currently associate concertmaster of the New York City Ballet Orchestra, a member of the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, and principal 2nd violin of the Westchester Philharmonic, the American Composers Orchestra, and the New York Pops. He has served as concertmaster of the Princeton Symphony, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra, and for many years was concertmaster of the Vermont Mozart Festival Orchestra. As a chamber musician, he regularly participates in the Central Vermont Chamber Music and the Windham Chamber Music Festivals, and he plays frequently with the Sherman Chamber Ensemble, the New York Chamber Ensemble, and the Saratoga Chamber Players.
Emily Daggett Smith, Violin ♫
Emily Daggett Smith has been praised for the quality of her playing and has performed across the United States, Europe, South America, and Asia. She made her New York concerto debut as a soloist with the Juilliard Orchestra in Alice Tully Hall and has since performed with many groups, including Iris Orchestra, the Festival Mozaic Orchestra, and the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra. She has appeared as a recitalist in such venues as the Kennedy Center and Chicago’s Music in the Loft and as a chamber musician with members of the Cleveland, Emerson and Juilliard String Quartets. She is on the faculty at the Bard College Conservatory Pre-College program and the Juilliard School. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Juilliard and a Doctor of Musical Arts from Stony Brook University. She studied with Soovin Kim, Philip Setzer, Joel Smirnoff, Laurie Smukler and Donald Weilerstein. She plays on a Johannes Cuypers violin, generously donated by Dr. Marylou Witz.
Liuh-Wen Ting, Viola ♫
Liuh-Wen Ting is a multi-faceted musician, member of the award-winning Meridian String Quartet, and co-founder of Ensemble Meme. She has collaborated with artists from the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society to the Manhattan String Quartet, Cassatt Quartet, and the Persian vocal duo Shahram and Hafez Nazeri, with whom she has worked for eleven years. A proponent of contemporary music, she is on the staff of the Composers Conference and Chamber Music Center and has premiered and recorded solo and chamber works for labels including Naxos, Atlantic, Mode, Capstone, Albany, and others. She has performed in music festivals including Ostrava New Music Days, Prague Spring Music Festival, Warsaw Autumn Music Festival, Primavera en la Habana, and the international electro-acoustic music festival in Cuba. She has been a member of the Orchestras of St. Luke’s and the Berkshire Bach Ensemble for over two decades.
Stephen Walt, Bassoon ♫
Stephen Walt is one of the original Berkshire Bach Ensemble members, playing in every Bach at New Year’s concert since inception. He retired recently as principal bassoonist of the Albany Symphony Orchestra, after 37 years, and as Senior Lecturer at the University of Massachusetts, where he taught for two decades. He is currently Artist-Associate in Bassoon and Director of Woodwind Chamber Music at Williams College and on the faculty of the Chamber Music Conference of the East. He has performed with orchestras, opera companies, and chamber ensembles throughout the United States and overseas, including the Borromeo, Lark, Muir, Amernet, and Shanghai String Quartets, and has been a guest artist at the Monadnock Festival, Musicorda, Music Festival of the Hamptons, and Music from Greer in Arizona. His primary teachers were his father, Sherman Walt, the eminent former principal bassoonist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Arthur Weisberg. He has recorded for Naxos, CRI, Decca, Koch International, Gasparo, Nonesuch, and Albany Records. He plays a 1958 Heckel bassoon known as “The Brussels,” which was made for his father and exhibited at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair as an example of fine German artisanship.
Jessica Warren, Oboe ♪
Jessica Warren is a freelance oboist on the East Coast, performing with such ensembles as the National Symphony Orchestra, Richmond Symphony, Eclipse Chamber Orchestra, Wintergreen Festival Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, and Portland Symphony Orchestra. In 2017 and 2018, she performed as an oboe fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center. As a teacher, she has worked with advanced high school and college oboists at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, New England Conservatory Preparatory School, and as an Associate Instructor at Indiana University, in addition to frequent guest teaching and masterclasses at the college level. She is a gouging machine repair specialist for Harvard Double Reeds and currently serves as the News of Interest Coordinator for The Double Reed, the journal of the International Double Reed Society. She studied primarily with John Ferrillo, Linda Strommen, and Robert Sorton, and currently lives, performs, and teaches in Washington, DC.
Kenneth Weiss, Harpsichord ♪
Kenneth Weiss has an active career as a soloist, conductor, chamber musician, and teacher. He has performed extensively in Europe, North America, and Asia, including at Wigmore Hall, Tokyo’s Bunkakaikan Hall, Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, the Library of Congress, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, La Roque d’Antheron, Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. He is a frequent guest of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, and NYC’s Music Before 1800. Highlights of the 2019-20 season include the “Brandenburg” Concerti with the Orchestre de Rouen and the Berkshire Bach Society, Tallis and Scarlatti at Emerald City Music Seattle, a live recording of Rebel’s Eléments on the historic Taskin harpsichord in Lisbon, and the Art of Fugue with Phantasm in the Lausanne Bach Festival. His recordings for Satirino records have been widely acclaimed and include Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Partitas, and the Well-Tempered Clavier, Rameau opera and ballet transcriptions, two Scarlatti albums, and two CDs devoted to Elizabethan keyboard music—A Cleare Day and Heaven & Earth. A native New Yorker, he attended the High School of Performing Arts and the Oberlin Conservatory, where he studied with Lisa Goode Crawford before working with legendary harpsichordist Gustav Leonhardt at the Amsterdam Conservatory. He is professor of harpsichord at the Haute Ecole de Musique in Geneva, Switzerland, and professor of chamber music at the Paris Conservatory.
Peter Weitzner, Double Bass ♫
Peter Weitzner is a graduate of The Juilliard School and has appeared frequently as a soloist and ensemble player with numerous musical groups in the United States and abroad. As a soloist with the Baltimore Symphony, he performed the New York premiere of Sheila Silver’s Chant for Bass and Piano, and he has participated frequently at international music festivals. An avid chamber musician, he is currently the curator and host of the BPL Chamber Players in residence at the Brooklyn Public Library and has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Orion, the Enso and Daedalus Quartets, Trio Solisti, New York Chamber Ensemble, Yale at Norfolk, and many others. For ten years he toured internationally with the Giora Feidman Trio and in 2009 was invited to become a member of the Quincy Jones Musiq Consortium, an arts education advocacy group comprised of arts-related non-profits, musicians, and educators. He has an extensive discography and is a frequent contributor to NPR’s Performance Today, hosted by Fred Child.
The Harpsichord ♪
The harpsichord used in today’s performance is a new instrument recently finished by Peter Fisk of Mystic (CT), based on the 17th-century Flemish double manual instruments that were in common use when the “Brandenburg” Concerti were first performed. The instrument is prepared and maintained by Glenn Giuttari of the Harpsichord Clearing House, the largest provider of early keyboards in the US, providing harpsichords and continuo organs, restoration, and brokerage since 1969.
♪ indicates first-time appearance with the Berkshire Bach Ensemble.